What makes a good story? There’s a lot that can go into a narrative, but most stories have a setting and characters, an initiating event or problem, attempts to solve the problem, and a resolution that wraps it all up. These elements form the structure of the story. It turns out that children’s ability tounderstand the underlying structure of stories relates strongly to reading comprehension and other language skills like vocabulary development.
Children implicitly tend to ”get” that stories need characters, and they often include conflicts in their own narratives. But you can help your learner explicitly recognize story structure by including it in your regular storybook reading!
Whenever you pick up a story, especially a new one, begin with the mantra, “Somebody, somewhere, is trying to solve a problem.” While reading the story, have your learner identify the problem by raising their hand when they recognize it or by pointing at the page where it occurs.
This simple interaction highlights how all stories revolve around some conflict and gives you and your child a jumping-off point to talk about other things, too: How did the main character feel about the problem? How did they try to solve it? How well did their solution work?
These brief conversations encourage a greater familiarity with story structure that can help your learner better comprehend everything from literature, tohistory, to math word problems!
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